Have you ever thought about starting your own blog?
If so, what’s holding you back?
Blogging is a great creative outlet AND it can help you earn more money.
If you are interested in learning how to blog as a side hustle or you have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, I want you to know that it is very possible. You can use blogging to earn coffee money or work extra hard to have it earn you a full-time income. You could even decide to hobby blog, just for fun.
Before you can create a kickass blog, let’s define what a kickass blog is.
WHAT IS A KICKASS BLOG?
Great question. I’m glad you asked!
- It’s a blog that helps other people accomplish a goal.
- It’s a blog that provides valuable and reliable content.
- It’s a blog that is full of your personality.
- It’s a blog that tells relatable stories.
A successful blog is about your audience. Find your audience and give them what they want and/or need. A blog about what you do daily is a journal. And journals can be successful if you are super interesting but if you don’t have Kardashian-like appeal, only writing about yourself and expecting great results will be difficult.
HOW CAN YOU HELP OTHER PEOPLE?
I struggled with this question from the start.
Honestly, I spent the early days of this blog writing lots of random posts hoping for anyone and everyone to read it. I wrote random recipe posts, how I organized my closet and kitchen, and other stuff that only my mom and a few others were reading about. It was frustrating writing blog post after blog post to a small audience.
The problem was that my posts weren’t helping anyone solve their problems. They were about me and I am apparently pretty boring.
Finally, I decided to have a conversation with myself. I said “Self, what can I do to help other people?” and myself replied “Well, you have skills as a chemist, an ESL teacher (In the USA and abroad), a volunteer doula, a frequent world traveler. You even have a masters in family life and youth development and knowledge as a new mom, how can you use those things to genuinely and effectively help other people?”
After, that conversation with myself, I decided I wanted to help pregnant and new moms and I wrote this post. It was the first post to bring thousands of visitors to my site each day. Why did it get popular? I think it helps women answer a common and important question.
It’s your turn.
How can you help other people? What skills or knowledge do you have that people struggle with. Can you write about that skill or topic in a way that helps other people quickly and easily? If so, that may be what your blog should be about.
Often, figuring out what you will write about is a process and can take some time. That is OK!
While you decide who you want your audience to be and how you will get them to your amazing content, focus on building your blog on a solid foundation.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A SOLID BLOGGING FOUNDATION?
If you want to learn more about the basic resources you need to start a blog, keep reading.
There are affiliate links in this blog post. Please see my disclosure page for more information.
YOU NEED A NAME, A BUILDER, A HOST, AND EMAIL
YOU NEED A NAME
Think of blogging as a business venture. If you want a business or a blog, you need a name. In the blogging world, it’s called a domain name.
- You are on my blog.
- The domain name= damngoodmom.com
- ‘.com’ is the extension. I could have chosen other extensions like .net, .org, .me, .co; however, .com is the most common. Lately, I’ve noticed lots of ‘.co’
Choose a name that is easy to spell and remember. Make sure it is not already taken and the social media handles are available. Also, make it a timeless name. You don’t want to name your site successin2018.com because you may want to have for years to come.
- Hover– This site allows you to check if your chosen domain name is taken. It also allows you to purchase a domain name. Many site-hosting websites like Bluehost or Siteground offer free domains with sign-up; however, if you want to claim your site name before you are ready to build your website, you can purchase it here. It should be less than $15/year.
- KnowEm– Use this site to check if the domain name you want is available on the major social media platforms or trademarked.
YOU NEED A BUILDER
- My website builder is WordPress.Org, not WordPress.Com.
- There are several website builders like Wix.com, Blogger.com, and SquareSpace.com. However, most bloggers will recommend WordPress.org for serious blogging.
- Why not WordPress.com? It is free to get started but it is not self-hosted and if you want a solid blog with full ownership of your work with the ability to add ad spaces (for income), you need to be self-hosted.
- FYI: The majority of websites and blogs are powered by WordPress.org, as a result, there are lots of online tutorials when you need assistance.
YOU NEED A HOST
A host is where your blog lives. Instead of a physical address, blogs have hosts.
- This blog is hosted by Bluehost. It is a very popular and affordable hosting plan.
- Another popular option is Siteground; I have another blog that uses this host. Both are affordable for beginner bloggers. I would suggest going with Siteground as the customer service is A+.
YOU NEED EMAIL
Email is huge for bloggers because it is how you will stay in touch with your audience. Social media is great but unreliable. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Google have algorithms that control what people see on their platforms. If you are in someone’s inbox that is gold.
Most people check their emails frequently and if you have something they want to hear or understand, they will open your emails, buy your products and sing your praise without needing to log in to any social media. If you are mildly introverted like me, this is great.
Your website needs to have an easy way for people to sign up and get your email list. Email service providers for bloggers include MailChimp, Mailerlite, MadMiMi, Converkit, and others. If you are just getting started MailChimp is free for 2000 subscribers.
If you want to get people on your email list, offer more than just newsletter updates. Give something irresistible or useful that can help your audience right now. I offer free tips to new moms (my audience) and a 5-Week Pregnancy challenge to pregnant women (my audience).
My offers are intentionally very specific to who I want on my email list. Men interested in basketball will not sign-up to be on my email list and why would they? I have nothing of value to offer them.
Find ways to get give your audience value. Try to help your audience for free, before trying to sell them anything.
It’s like in real life. How likely are you to buy something from a random stranger on the street? Not likely.
But if you got to know someone a little (having them in your inbox), saw their quality of work (free offers and samples), then you may be much more likely to purchase their awesome book, ebook, or product.
Having email access to your audience is important for building relationships with your audience. It’s more important than growing a following on any social media platform.
OTHER THINGS YOUR BLOG NEEDS
YOU NEED A THEME
- Themes allow you customize your site and make it look pretty. WordPress offers free and paid themes. There is nothing wrong with starting out with a free theme, many are elegant and professional looking, some just lack the ability to customize. In the beginning, customization isn’t as important as content, so you can always use a free theme and then upgrade later. Do not feel obligated to rush and purchase a theme. Take your time and explore.
- I purchased my theme here. I love all the feminine theme options!
YOU NEED SECURITY
- For security I use CloudFlare. This service is great for giving your site speed and safety. There is a free option to get you started.
YOU WILL NEED A PRIVACY STATEMENT
If this is beginning to feel overwhelming, stop and consider taking this FREE 10-day blogging course, created by Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog! It’s a great way to get your feet wet and learn more about blogging, from an experienced blogger who earns more than $40,000 a month. Yes, you read that right! She offers so much value to her readers and she is teaching you how to do the same.
I believe in learning from people who are successful, and her success is a testament to what is possible for you and me…if we keep working hard. Give the FREE 10 Day Blogging QuickStart Course a try, if you love it, sign up for Abby’s ebook or course. I don’t believe you will be disappointed with either option.
If you want to keep rolling with me, and you have a website up and going, consider adding useful plugins. Plugins are like apps for your blog. They provide services to help you customize your site.
YOU WILL WANT PLUGINS
I use plugins sparingly because they can make your site much slower and this effects SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and usability; people do not like to wait for pages to load, no matter how great they are. Here are the plugins that I have found to be helpful.
- Akismet. Protects your blog from spam comments and trackbacks. It came with my theme. If your theme doesn’t automatically have it, this is one you want to have.
- Lazy Load. Helps speed up your site by loading photos as needed.
- Social Warfare. Great for making sharing easy for users.
- Yoast SEO. Great for helping to make each post optimized for sharing and Google searches.
- Pretty Links. Amazing for affiliate linking.
- Rel Nofollow Checkbox. Another plugin for managing affiliate linking.
- Editorial Calendar. Perfect for planning and scheduling post.
- Wordfence. A security plugin for providing firewall and malware scans.
YOU WILL NEED AMAZING CONTENT
OK. If you made it this far you are ready to impress the world and create some epic content.
- Content is what keeps people coming to your blog. Write amazing content. Teach people that amazing skill you have. Help someone solve a problem that they haven’t been able to solve themselves. Provide shortcuts and knowledge.
Once you have technically set up your blog and created amazing content, the work begins. That’s right, after you write amazing content, you have to become a marketer. Becoming efficient at getting your content in front of your audience will become your new full-time job. Don’t get discouraged, blogging takes time and effort.
Blogging is about progress, not perfection. I’m not the best writer or the best anything but I have a genuine desire to help my audience and to work hard at it. When I feel ready, I will launch my own course to teach you what I have learned about blogging. Until then, check out this source, to learn from someone far ahead of me on this blogging train. YOU CAN DO THIS! WE CAN DO THIS!
PS. I offer website building services, the technical side. Learn more here.
ARE YOU A NEW BLOGGER? ARE YOU BUILDING A KICKASS BLOG THAT IS HELPING PEOPLE SOLVE PROBLEMS?
CHEERS TO YOU!! LET’S HAVE VIRTUAL COFFEE!!